Win tells her husband Reg's story:
My husband Reg suffered from Motor Neurone Disease. In January 2003, Reg, myself and my daughter Jan were forced to travel to Switzerland to seek an assisted death, because the alternative - to remain, and suffer, and die, in this country, would have been too horrendous.
My husband suffered terribly as a result of MND. Only weeks after the diagnosis he was unable to move his arms, depending on family and carers to feed him, wash him, dress him. This progressed to his legs, and in no time at all, he could neither feed himself nor go to the toilet, and he had to sleep and live in a chair. He was barely able to support his own head, and was told by doctors that he would soon have to be fed from a peg. He was given an informative video to watch, which outlined this process.
As each day passed, Reg found his life increasingly unbearable - a living hell. Palliative care did little for him. His dignity was stripped away, each time the disease closed down another part of his body, and so was his independence. Reg loved life, but not in the incapacitated shell of his former self. Motor Neurone Disease robbed him of his autonomy.
Although I am a Roman Catholic, like many others in my position, when Reg said he wanted medical assistance to die, to avoid a long and painful death, I felt this was the right thing to do. I agreed with him that the disease should not rob him of the ability to choose the manner of his inevitable death.
Because assisted dying is illegal in the UK we were forced to travel to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland for Reg to get his last wish. The journey to Switzerland was terrible for us all and it is unkind to force people in Reg's position to travel overseas to get their last wish.
Reg always said he loved his country and wanted to die at home. He felt it was grossly unfair that he had been called up to do National Service and was prepared to die for his country but then wasn't allowed to choose the manner of his death.
For several months after my return, I had the threat of legal action hanging over me but what alternative was there?
Hundreds upon hundreds of people from all over the UK have written to me with letters of support to say how unjust the current law is and that it must be changed to give people like Reg the option of requesting a dignified death.
Please help Dignity in Dying change in the law so that other people do not have to make that same desperate journey to Switzerland.
- Read what the BBC's website says about Reg and Win
- Win's interview with The Liverpool Echo on the fourth anniversary of Reg's death
The accounts made in the personal stories section of the Dignity in Dying website reflect the views of the authors. The views of Dignity in Dying may differ. For Dignity in Dying's mission please go to: http://www.dignityindying.org.uk/about.html
Should you want to contact any of the people featured in these pages, or wish to share your own story with us, please contact Jo Cartwright:
020 7479 7737 or 07725 433 025